So, this is how you swim inward. So, this is how you flow outwards. So, this is how you pray―Mary Oliver.
For so many of us, the routines and rituals that swaddled and sustained us last March have begun to feel stifling. Some of us may dream of golden beaches, yearn for the crowded conviviality of our favourite coffee shop. So many are still stranded, far from their place of belonging.
Our old lives feel may so distant after this year of life-shaping sequestration. For those who have lost loved ones, for those whose lives have been dragged down into the undertow by loss of work or direction, everything may seem blurred, life’s pulse beat feeble. Hundreds of thousands of people have died since last March. Millions of people are grieving broken bonds of belonging. In the UK, March 23rd, the first anniversary of the UK lockdown, is a National Day of Reflection.
For grief, there is no inoculation.
Pisces is the last sign of the zodiac. We are collectively at a time of emptying out, letting go. This week, as the porous Pisces Sun unites briefly with diffuse Neptune (20° Pisces) we may pause and compassionately reflect on the year that has passed, the sacrifices that were made. The Sun and Moon unite with otherworldly Neptune on the New Moon of March 13th as Mercury emerges “out of shadow” and we slowly step into a world touched by change.
This rhythmic, watery imagery may permeate our world-weary lives with a longing to return to what we have neglected―those simple pleasures that are the arteries of attachments to that which quenches our thirst. When a miasma of uncertainty leaches moisture from our lives, we may need to tend to the well within, quench our imagination, reaffirm our lives as we inhabit a new dimensionality in the face of challenges and defeats.
In the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing, the Black Lives Matter movement highlighted the long dark shadow of racism and inequality that stains our communities and is embedded in our institutions. The sky story describes a long, slow and painful healing process for us all on some level.
The signature of 2021 is the slow-moving Saturn/Uranus square that suspends us all collectively between the elements of air (intellect, communication) and earth (matter, “reality”) as our visions and ideals crash against a wall of inertia. Saturn, (conservatism, authority) and Uranus (shock waves, idealism, anarchy, innovation) are mythic enemies. Meghan and Harry’s “kryptonite” interview with Oprah Winfrey depicts this upsetting energy as shockwaves ripple and racism shakes the bedrock of the Monarchy and the nation. Writes David Olusogo in the Guardian, “be in no doubt this is the most serious crisis ‘the firm’ has faced since the death of Princess Diana – according to some, since the abdication of Edward VIII in 1936. But this is not just a crisis for the royal family – but for Britain itself. Yet rather than use this moment to embark upon an honest national conversation about race and racism there will, I fear, be further demonisation of Meghan and Harry. Trapped in denial – about everyday racism, structural racism, slavery and empire – there are parts of British society that appear incapable not just of change but even of its necessary precursor: honest self-reflection.”
Pluto (virus) and the recently “discovered” planet, Eris, more aptly named Discordia by the Romans form a fractious square all through 2020 and 2021 (exact on August 27th and October 9th.)
Eris is in Aries, that sign associated with autonomy and Self, and as she sows discord and upset, many rebel against heavy-handed rules, as individual and national selfishness ricochet across fractured communities. The altruistic “We’re all in this together” has been subsumed by individualism and nationalism as Eris, sister of the war-god Mars creates sparks that illuminate Pluto’s long shadow that will continue to dismantle redundant structures and smoke out corruption and misuse of power as Pluto moves through Capricorn (2008-24.)
From hoarding toilet paper and tinned beans, we are now witnessing vaccine nationalism and a new kind of equality as the virus mutates and spreads in the slums of Brazil, India, or South Africa, and the so-called “first world” looks to the vaccine for redemption. Writing for the Financial Times, Yuval Noah Harari observes, “even the richest people in the most developed countries have a personal interest to protect the poorest people in the least developed countries. If a new virus jumps from a bat to a human in a poor village in some remote jungle, within a few days that virus can take a walk down Wall Street.”
We are still collectively, in the alchemical stage of solution. Jung describes this process as “the selfish hardness of the heart is dissolved: the heart turns to water. The ascent to the higher stages can then begin.” As we make fluid our rigid routines, dissolve our hardened habits, cleanse the debris of emotional blockages, we draw moisture into our parched lives, flow outwards. As we pray. Emily Dickinson’s brief poem captures the sea-language of Pisces. When a dear friend she loved died, she wrote: “each that we lose takes part of us; a crescent still abides, which like the moon, some turbid night, is summoned by the tides.”
As the tethered fish of Pisces draw us deeper, may they guide our prayers and direct our dreams, heighten our empathy for those who are struggling with depression or loneliness; for those who are defined by their sexual preferences, or the colour of their skin; for those who feel that they have lost their way and yet are in quiet motion. We are collectively moving through a time of initiation that may transform us at our core. Our healing may come from the shocks that stir us into awareness, reverberate through our bodies, bloom in our hearts.
Spiritual teacher, Eckhardt Tolle reminds us, “all things that truly matter―beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace―arise from beyond the mind.”
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